5 Tips to Ease Holiday Stress for Special Needs Families

kids at christmas

The holidays have arrived. Soon the tables will be seated with guests, filled with food and chatter and gifts will be opened. For those families of children with special needs, the holidays may also come with challenges.

While it’s easy to understand that changes in routines, loud noises or other disruptions could cause a child to become upset, we tend to forget that there are things we can do even as a friend or family members, to help ease those situations and make the holidays enjoyable for all.

Here are some tips for making holiday festivities enjoyable and stress free for families of children with special needs.

1.      Make a Gift List

The best way to ensure your child gets gifts they will be able to use is to let family and friends know in advance about which items work well and which to avoid. Here’s a great recommendation for a therapeutic gift from Cheshire Fitness Zone’s own Occupational Therapy Assistant Lisa Marie.

2.      Politely Decline

It’s okay to decline an invitation. Putting your child’s wellbeing first is something any parent will do. If you know an invitation to a specific home will include lots of guests, noise or other things that your child will not enjoy being a part of, it’s totally okay to decline. The host will understand.

3.      Bring Your Own Food

If you will be attending a holiday dinner outside of your home and have prepared your child for the change in schedule and scenery, you should still always have a back-up plan when it comes to food. Having foods on hand they prefer or can eat, versus what’s being served, is the best bet to avoid your child becoming upset or even sick.

4.      Ask for Help

Even if you aren’t the caretaker of the child with special needs, be that person who goes above and beyond to lend a hand this season. As a parent it can be hard to remember that it’s okay to let others know how they may be able to help you out in a situation when you need it. Most people would be more than willing to, so don’t be afraid to ask for support.

5.      Schedule in Self Care

Taking care of yourself should be a priority. How else will you keep up with everything for the rest of the year ahead? Set aside some “me” time this holiday to recoup from the busy last few months by going to dinner, getting a massage or just taking time for a quiet bubble bath.

The holidays are about spreading cheer and kindness. Whether you’re caring for a child with special needs or have a family member whose child has special needs, take some time this year to find ways that will help make the day a great one for all.


At Cheshire Fitness Zone, we take a family-centered approach to treatment so that all members involved in a child’s care can be involved in the growth and development of his or her skills.  From the very first phone call to the final therapy session, we do our very best to ensure that you and your child feel comfortable in the hands of our skilled clinicians. Contact us to learn more.

Spread the love

Recent Posts

Request An Appointment With Us Online Today

Take Our Developmental Milestone Quiz

As parents, we all want to ensure that our children are meeting crucial developmental milestones. Use this tool to see if your child is on the right track.